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The RAVE (Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy) Act of 2002 (H.R. 718) is notable both for its disturbing attempt at the expansion of government powers and for its unintentionally hilarious description of "drug paraphernalia."

First, the scary stuff. Basically, the RAVE Act would have allowed nightclub owners (or, really, the owners of any business) to be prosecuted under the U.S. crack house laws if any evidence of drug-taking was found on the premises. This could have been applied to any place of business, rather than only to places which exist for the sole purpose of drug consumption, as was formerly the case. This means that, technically, if a restaurant's patrons are caught using cocaine in the bathrooms, that restaurant could be fined if not closed.

Of course, it's sometimes hard to catch evil drug users in the act. Therefore, the RAVE Act would have deemed the presence of glowsticks, bottled water, and chillout rooms to be indicative of drug use (see also glowstick are drug paraphernalia). Hmm. Evian=drug use? And what, exactly, defines a "chillout room"? Comfortable chairs? Are couches a sign of drug use? These definitions of "drug paraphernalia" are not only silly, but also would give the DEA power to fine almost any business for being a "crack house" (I defy anyone to find a bar in which there is not a single bottle of water on the premises).

Although the RAVE Act failed to pass, the U. S. Senate has introduced the 2003 "Illegal Drug Anti-Proliferation Act," which is essentially the RAVE Act minus the word "rave."

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